Production area for seed potatoes was reduced


<div>Exceptionally few seed potato crops were rejected in the summer of 2006. The approved production area for certified seed potatoes in the summer of 2006 was 1 290 ha, which is about 60 ha less than in previous years. During several years previously, the production area has remained at a level of 1 350 ha, so this season there was a surprising drop of over four per cent in the amount of seed potatoes produced. The most common varieties were the popular food potato varieties Van Gogh, Nicola and the early potato Hankkija’s Timo. </div>

The production of seed potatoes is concentrated to North Ostrobothnia.  Most of the seed potatoes were produced in Tyrnävä, where they were grown in an area of about 650 ha.  The areas with the next largest production were Kalajoki and Liminka.

The crops in the summer of 2006 were of a good quality.  In the official field inspections exceptionally few crops were rejected.  The most common reasons for rejection were the varietal purity and black scurf.  The rejected area was only five ha, whereas last year close to 80 ha was rejected.  Over several years the most common causes for rejection have been water damage and black leg, which did not cause any problems this past summer.

Viral diseases of potatoes that were found during inspections last summer were also found in seed potato fields, which is unusual.  This is a warning that viruses will be found in the laboratory tests to be performed during the winter.  Batches where too high a level of viral infection has been found during the official seed control will be removed from production for seed potatoes.  Also growers using their own seed potatoes have reason to seriously consider buying new seed as the levels of viral contamination in their own seed potatoes may now be high.

The Finnish Food Safety Authority’s seed testing and organic production control unit in Loimaa is responsible for the official controls and approval of seed potatoes for all of Finland.  The control of seed potatoes is a process that consists of many stages, of which field inspection, laboratory tests, storage control and official certification form a part.

During the summer, thorough inspections are done in every seed potato field.  During the inspection it is ensured, that there is no question as to the identity of the reported potato variety.  A mix-up of varieties is not accepted.  In addition, harmful potato plant diseases are looked for in the crop.

The laboratory analyses are performed at the seed testing and organic production control unit in Loimaa.  In the laboratory potato cyst nematode is looked for in soil samples and bacterial ring rot and viral diseases are looked for in samples of the tubers.  Potato cyst nematode and bacterial ring rot are quarantine plant pests and are not accepted at all in seed potatoes.

Before certifying the seed potatoes, the tubers are given a visual tuber control in the potato storage area.  Plant diseases and defects that may affect the quality of seed potatoes are looked for in clean and split tubers.

When a batch of seed potatoes has passed all of the controls, the seed testing and organic production control unit will certify the batch.  Approved and controlled seed potatoes are recognized by a label of certification.  With controlled seed potatoes there will be no spread of quarantine plant pests or, at harmful levels, other plant diseases.


For more information please contact:
Senior Officer Hanna Kortemaa, tel. 020 77 25340, 040 833 2486
Seed Testing and Organic Production Control

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